At least 10 dead, 934 injured after strongest earthquake in decades hits Taiwan island
Published: Apr 03, 2024 02:46 PM
Photo: CFP

Photo: CFP

At least 10 people were confirmed dead, 934 were injured, and 56 people trapped awaiting rescue after a 7.3-magnitude quake struck the east coast of Taiwan island on Wednesday, local media reported on Wednesday, with the rescue being underway in the worst-hit region of Hualien. 

A 7.3-magnitude earthquake jolted an area of sea near Hualien in China's Taiwan at 7:58 am Wednesday (Beijing Time), followed by two aftershocks which measured 6.0-magnitude and 5.9-magnitude at 8:11 am and 8:35 am respectively, according to the China Earthquake Network Center (CENC).

According to the statistics of local meteorological department in Taiwan, as of 19:30 on Wednesday, 190 aftershocks had occurred, including 97 aftershocks of magnitude 4 or above, Taiwan-based media reported. 

According to local Taiwan media reports, a landslide occurred in Hualien, a county closest to the epicenter, after the earthquake, causing vehicles to be hit by falling rocks.

With a population of abut 100,000, Hualien county is known for its mountainous terrain.

Among the dead persons, three were hikers who were hit by falling rocks, one was a bus driver, killed by falling rocks as well. 

Videos on social media revealed some buildings in Hualien were seriously damaged and partially collapsed. Local authorities said there are still people waiting for rescue in these buildings.  

Taiwan's local weather authorities said the earthquake is the largest one since a 7.3-magnitude quake in 1999. Aftershocks of magnitude 6.5+ to 7.0 may occur over the coming three to four days.

The Hualien county government announced the suspension of classes and work in response to the aftershocks.

Soon after the fatal earthquake, Zhu Fenglian, spokesperson for the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council, said that Chinese mainland is willing to provide disaster relief assistance.

The mainland is concerned about the situation and extends sincere sympathy to the Taiwan compatriots affected by the disaster, Zhu noted. 

The Chinese on the other side of the Taiwan Straits are also closely following the earthquake disaster in Taiwan island. The “Taiwan earthquake” became a top 10 hashtag in Sina Weibo, with about 1.48 billion reads and 551,000 comments as of 22:00 on Wednesday. 

Most mainland net users expressed their wishes and kindness that Taiwan compatriots could stay peace and safety. Some said they are standing with Taiwan compatriots, and hope them to overcome difficulties as soon as possible.   

Fourteen years ago, when a massive 8.0-magnitude earthquake struck Wenchuan, Southwest China’s Sichuan Province in 2008, the Taiwan region donated NT$7.05 billion ($2.2 billion) in aid to the mainland, NT$5.05 billion of which was from the private sector and people from all walks of life, according to media reports. 

Ma Ying-jeou, the then Taiwan regional leader at the time of the Wenchuan earthquake, was visiting Guangzhou on the mainland on Wednesday. After visiting a Chinese revolutionary martyrs' cemetery, he sent a brief condolence to Taiwan people in his speech, "A massive earthquake happened off Hualien waters, I hope everyone’s safe."

Global Times